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BBO Bridges Case Study: Self-discovery and finding the right support

Liam* came into the YMCA, West Bromwich in August 2021, seeking support as he had been struggling with mental health issues for a while.

As he has previously received support from the BBO project and one of our partners -Just Straight Talk, Liam has contacted us again in a time of crisis.

After getting the approval from Steps to Work, Liam joined the BBO Bridges project, and we started working together on overcoming his barriers. These included help with his housing application to live independently again, and light employability activities leading to building a CV to highlight his skills, knowledge and experience. In addition to that, we supported him with creating healthy routines (of which his Bridges meeting became an integral part), building confidence in social scenarios, and raising confidence to talk about his mental health (most notably with reference to exploring an AQ50 ASD test).

We also explored benefits advice and even played some chess to close some of our sessions. Liam is also very fitness-focused so we incorporated this into our activities including walking and running together. As disruption to his routine can have a detrimental impact on his mental health, we’ve tried to keep our sessions consistent and regular.

Liam expresses gratitude for the personal approach afforded him throughout his time on BBO Project and he felt that he made major progress with us. As a result of our hard work together, we are happy to say that Liam moved into part-time self-employed IT solutions and web development as he has secured a contract with a local business. Most notably, Liam expressed that this support has enabled him to communicate and relate his mental health and possible ASD for the first time. That could provide him with clarity and the opportunity to get a diagnosis and understand the elements of his health condition in a better way.

As a part of his self-employment journey, we have also referred Liam to one of our Bridges partners ‘Access to Business’ to see what additional support he can find around managing, strengthening and sustaining a self-employed venture. Liam is also considering working on deliveries for a company such as Getir so may apply for them in the near future too.

 “I believe Liam’s time on Bridges has been beneficial and has helped him to get to a position where his confidence has improved dramatically and working is a possibility/reality.” James Tivendale, JST – LM’s Bridges Advice worker.

 “He and I are both deep thinkers, sometimes enjoy silences, and found a lot of common ground with routines and enthusiasm for fitness.” LM Bridges Participant.

Everyone on the BBO Bridges project wishes Liam all the best in his future and we would be here to support him if he needs us again!

Bridges is funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund. For more information about the project, please visit stepstowork.co.uk/bridges or contact us on 01922 627555.

*Due to confidentiality, the name of the participant has been changed.